...because without this, the Constitution makes no sense.
IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred. to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
— John Hancock
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton
John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark
Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross
Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean
Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton
George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton
Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton
"A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people." Says a lot to what's going on in this country today, don't you think?
Reading this document on the Fourth always put a thrill up my spine, but lately, as I read the bill of charges against King George, I get more and more disturbed and saddened. Liberals have a responsibility, and that is to take this country back from the felons and thugs of the right wing, by force if necessary.
The United States was born in the forge of democracy, a firey hot furnace of passion and conviction. We on the left MUST, for the sake of our children and their children and their children's children, reignite that fire and reform America for the 21st century.
For too long, we've let the right speak for the nation. No longer can we allow that, while assuming "our time will come." That time is now, and we must take it. They are greedy and will not yield power readily. The 2000 and 2004 elections proved that.
The Founders pledged, as it says above, "our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor." We must ask no less of ourselves now. The Revolution is not over. We must fight the good fight against tyranny here. We're all in this together, and we all have to do our part. Those who can do more, shall and should, but all must fight the fight.
America has enormous challenges facing it, and nearly every time this country has faced challenges, it has turned to Democrats. And Democrats have solved them. The one exception? The Civil War. And Lincoln would be a "tax and spend liberal" today, for his support of income, capital gains and estate taxes .
We are faced with a huge fiscal crisis thanks to the bungling by the Bush administration of the Clinton legacy of "peace and unparalleled prosperity". Clinton may have been called "Bubba," but Bush has acted like one. Our economy is staggering along under the weight of the enormous deficit we owe China and Japan and the Saudis, and shows no glimmer of hope for vast improvement anytime soon. We are engaged in a great civil war, pitting the culture of progress against the culture of rootedness. Both cultures can contribute to America's future, but not with the slanderous cynicism of the Rovian wing of the Republican party. We must eliminate that.
We have the challenge of occupying two nations while baiting two others to war with us, as we stretch our underfunded and underequipped military beyond its limits. Lastly, our reputation around the world as a model of democracy and rule-by-law has been shattered and there is little we can salvage to make our word our bond once again.
It is up to us, liberals and Democrats, to take on these challenges, to make America a place we can be proud of again, and not proud in a "wave the flag" way, but proud to step up to the customs counter in any country, and declare "I am an American," and not have to check to see how the agent reacts. Hell, I can't even do that at JFK now!
We on the left and in the center must make a clear articulation of these challenges, but more, what we intend to do about them. And this is not something we should be leaving up to the pollsters and consultants and the "powers that be," but we, the people, should be speaking to our representatives and our Congresscritters and Senators, daily if necessary, to ensure that our voices are heard and that we are taken seriously.
America is strong, but it's strength is being used improperly by those who would not "ask not what your country can do for you," but would "ask more." This selfishness must stop and it must stop now. There is far too much at stake: a weakened economy, a weakened military, and a weakened people is a recipe for invasion and overthrow. Just ask Saddam Hussein.
And this also means we have to start reaching out across the aisle. A house divided cannot stand, a great man once said, and the foundation is showing cracks once more. We can fix them, but we cannot fix them alone. We cannot, however, abdicate the credit for fixing it to a party that has shown time and time again it will take credit for anything, and lay blame for everything.
Above all, Democrats must stand for big ideas, for the future and for our children. Security, yes, but progress, because America didn't become a superpower by imitating Britain or France or Germany (although lately...). We became a great nation because we dreamed of things that weren't and said "why not?" The world will move on, with or without us. We ought to be there, leading the way to freedom, to democracy and to the future.
This will all take a lot of work, but the most powerful phrase in the Bible is (Acts 18:9) "Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace." Many hands lighten the heaviest load.
So tell your friends.
God bless you, my readers (and if you're atheist or agnostic, HIGH FIVE!), and God bless America.